MVLA Update

August 2020

MVLA Community,


This is an opening of the school year like no other. And even though it will be different, there is still that excitement that comes from new classes, new relationships, and new possibilities. I welcome students, families and staff to the 2020-21 school year. We will meet the challenges of our new environment together to make this a rewarding year.


As we begin the school year, our instructional program will be online. Families have selected one of two options that will best meet the needs of their students. Option A will have MVLA teachers providing the daily instruction. Option B students will be working with the Edgenuity program with MVLA teacher support. Although they are certainly not replicas of our traditional school environment, I am very confident that the quality of instruction and the communication between student and teacher will closely reflect one’s experience on campus.


To support these new venues of learning and to ensure strong instruction, our teachers have participated in various professional development opportunities to enhance their on-line teaching skills. Additionally, we have created a new position of Distance Learning Administrator to ensure that our current and future instructional offerings are effective and compelling.


In addition to new ways of instructing, we are also finding new ways to communicate. I have been impressed with the initiative of students and staff who have created student webinars, staff webinars, and expert panels on such topics as: college recruitment, wellness, and extracurricular activities. Our counselors are developing an enhanced model of supports, and you'll read more about that below. We also are grateful for our community support and thank our MVLA Foundation, Our PTSA, and our Community Volunteers who all have shifted to assist us in our new challenges. Their innovation and support is appreciated.


MVLA is committed to supporting the achievement of every student and promoting the well-being of students and staff. Those goals are especially crucial in this time of the pandemic. We will continue to adhere to the advisories of the state and county Health Departments as we start the new year. With that in mind, we are recommending that distance learning continue through October 9, 2020 - the first quarter of the school year. We will provide a report to our Board of Trustees prior to October 9, based on data available at the time, on steps to follow for the remainder of the semester.


It has been a hectic but productive summer. I thank the MVLA community for its support. I am also very grateful for the tireless work of our governance team and our staff members. Everyone has stepped up to the challenges of this very unusual time, and I thank you all.


Welcome back and stay well-


Sincerely,


Nellie Meyer

Superintendent

DISTRICT NEWS

STRATEGIES AND SUPPORTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL START TO FALL DISTANCE LEARNING

Students by now have selected one of two Distance Learning options for the Fall 2020 reopening and have a weekly schedule and instruction activities to follow. Teachers are sharing information about attendance and grades for both options. We've also identified student, parent, and teacher responsibilities for this continued period of distance learning, helping us to ensure that all stakeholders are engaged and committed to the success of our students and each other.


Our new Distance Learning Administrator, Teri Faught, kicked off the new year for students with a webinar entitled "Launching into the NEW School Year 2020-2021," with student strategies and tips for a successful new school year and remote start.


Students began training on Canvas, our new Learning Management System (LMS), last week, and will continue to have support and training through the school year. We have also created a series of Canvas training modules for parents that will provide an introduction to the platform and also allow for parents to 'co-enroll' in a course as an observer to track and help support their students' progress.

INVESTING IN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY

As soon as we knew we needed to close schools last spring, we also knew we need to jump into action to assure all students had access to technology to be able to access remote instruction. This meant securing Chromebooks for students whose existing computers weren't working well, hotspots for Wifi, and coordination with local technology providers to ensure access at home for all families. It also meant supporting teachers and other staff with technology to support their work while working remotely. Here are some of the "by the numbers" data:


Staff

  • 190 new laptops purchased
  • All machines running Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) software to protect against future cyber-threats
  • Full access to classroom technology and supplies


Students

  • 250 additional Chromebooks purchased in spring; another 650 new devices purchased for incoming freshmen and students new to MVLA for a total of 900 new devices for students
  • 225 mobile hot spots purchased


We'd like to give a shout-out to our Information Technology Services team. These staff have worked tirelessly since our school closures to secure and distribute technology, coordinate the research and testing into learning management systems, secure our new system - Canvas - and coordinate training on the new system for hundreds of employees. They have been essential for making sure students have equitable access for our extended distance learning program.

COVID-19 AND THE BUDGET

School districts throughout California have had obvious financial impacts from the pandemic but are starting to see some financial relief from the state and federal governments.


The California legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 117 in the spring to provide protections for school districts closed due to COVID-19 as well as funding for protective equipment and supplies and labor for cleaning school sites. MVLA received $73,698 from this disbursement.


More recently, MVLA received funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Our preliminary allocation of these emergency relief funds was $207,598.


Additionally, school districts are being allocated Learning Loss Mitigation Funds from the state, also through the CARES Act, using three multiple funding sources to support student academic achievement and mitigate learning loss related to COVID-19 school closures. While we have not yet received confirmation about MVLA's allocation, it is estimated we will receive in excess of $2 million. Allowable uses include:

  • Student learning supports
  • General measures that extend instructional time for students
  • Provide additional core academic support for students who need it
  • Provide integrated services that support teaching and learning, including student and staff technology needs, mental health services, staff professional development, and student nutrition

INNOVATIVE LEARNING GRANT PROGRAM FUNDS TOOLS FOR DISTANCE LEARNING

In 2015, the MVLA High School Foundation began the Innovative Learning Grant program to foster innovation in the classroom. Each year, $100,000 is provided for teachers grants up to $5,000 each so that they can do something above and beyond the standard curriculum.


Grants are awarded based on a clear set of rubrics on how the project impacts student learning and its scaling potential. This year because of the pandemic, the focus is on projects that not only enhance learning in the traditional classroom but also create a more engaging and relevant virtual learning experience.


In round one, some of the projects that were approved included:

Google Cardboard Virtual Reality (VR) Viewers - Lauren Camarillo, MVHS Spanish

The viewers are used by students to “visit” the countries they are studying and tour the streets, monuments, museums and restaurants instead of just reading about them. Each student will have their own viewer to use at home and at school. Students will also be collaborating with English Language Learners to build community while learning about other cultures.

Subscription to PLAT4M digital athletic training software - Tami Kittle and Kiernan Raffo, MVHS and LAHS PE

The online strengthening and conditioning program provide video content showing the proper technique for a wide range of exercises and sports. By leveraging the program’s capacity to record students’ individual goals and progress, teachers can provide individual feedback to students. The program can benefit students during distance learning as well as in the traditional classroom.

Individual DNA analysis/electrophoresis equipment for at-home check-out - Lisa Cardellini, LAHS Biology

The students will debate real world DNA ethical issues in class and these tools will be used to solve DNA “mystery” scenarios created by the teachers such as how DNA could be used in a court of law. Not only can students check the equipment out for home, it can be used in the traditional classroom in the future.

Learn more!

DISTANCE LEARNING - ADULT SCHOOL STYLE

Our MVLA Adult School team has worked tirelessly over the summer to transition offerings from in-classroom instruction to learning in a virtual environment, developing thoughtfully-planned and flexible distance learning options.


The fall session begins August 24 with an exciting array of new distance learning options in Career Technical Education (CTE), English as a Second Language (ESL), health science and medical technology, high school diploma and equivalency courses, and general interest courses.


Our arts classes will utilize Zoom meetings for demonstrations and instructions, followed up with live sessions where students will be able to share their work for group discussion. We're also excited to offer some new programs for our 55+ students, including:

  • Introduction to Google Drive and Docs
  • Connecting with People Online Using Zoom
  • Hosting a Meeting Using Zoom


Enrollment is open now. Check out our fall catalog and come sign up!

ENHANCEMENTS TO DISTRICT COUNSELING SERVICES

Following a yearlong study of research on best practices, stakeholder surveys, and alignment with the national standards for school counseling, we are pleased to announce some exciting enhancements to the MVLA School Counseling Model.


MVLA school counselors, college counselors, and College and Career Center coordinators will begin rolling out these enhancements in the weeks ahead. Highlights include:

  • A freshman social/community-building event where counselors and students can get to know each other more informally, and a Back-to-School Night welcome presentation to help new families better orient themselves to their MVLA high school.
  • Counselors will begin delivering small-group workshops for sophomores on areas that may include Naviance use, goal-setting, and academic/study skills.
  • Counselors will begin conducting interviews with juniors designed to enhance the personalization of the important school counselor letter of recommendation required for college admissions.
  • Seniors and their families will continue to engage in one-on-one appointments with their school counselors, as well as opportunities for individual appointments with MVLA college counselors.


Learn more about our enhanced model and see the continuum diagram here. And be sure to check out this awesome "Behind the Masks with MVHS Counseling" video to welcome students back to school!

FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR STADIUM LIGHTS AND PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM PROJECTS

The final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and findings for the LAHS and MVHS Stadium Lights and Public Address (PA) System projects were presented to and approved by the Board of Trustees at its July 27 meeting.


The reports are required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a state statute passed in 1970, requiring state and local government agencies to inform decision makers and the public about the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects, and to reduce those environmental impacts to the extent feasible.


The EIRs found no impacts that were significant or unavoidable. The impacts generally fall into the category of construction-related impacts, such as dust control, storm water monitoring, and avoiding nesting birds. The reports also address culturally-related impacts that could potential arise during construction, such as uncovering buried cultural artifacts or human remains.


The associated reports are as follows:

Los Altos High School Lights and Public Address System Project


Mountain View High School Lights and Public Address System Project


With the approval of the reports, the district awarded a contract for installation which is expected to start next month and take approximately two months for completion.

BOARD UPDATE

At its July 27 meeting, the Board of Trustees took action or had presentations on a number of important topics, including:


At its August 10 meeting, the Board of Trustees introduced the newly-selected student representatives for the 2020-2021 school year - Riley Capuano from Los Altos High School and Erin Coyne from Mountain View High School, and received an update on the reopening of schools for Fall, 2020.


All meeting agendas, recordings, and minutes are available online.

MEAL PROGRAM UPDATE

MVLA has applied for and received approvals to continue to operate under the "Seamless Summer" meals program through September 30, 2020. This is an extension of the program we were able to offer during summer - where any child 18 years or younger may receive free meals. They will not have to qualify for the federal free and reduced price meal program.


The meal pick-up days will be Mondays and Wednesdays. On Monday, we will provide a to-go breakfast and lunch for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, we will provide to-go breakfast and lunch for Wednesday through Friday. Meals will be distributed at both Mountain View and Los Altos High School from 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. to avoid conflicting with scheduled classes.


Beginning October 1, we will have to return to serving only those students eligible for the program, unless an extension of the seamless meal program is made available. Students will need to present their ID card or provide a permanent ID number when picking up the meals. Returning students have until September 30 to submit a new application.

DISTANCE LEARNING HIGHLIGHTS

Our MVLA teachers and students showed that - despite a pandemic, the closures of our campuses, and the move to distance learning - nothing would stop them from finding new ways to innovate, create, collaborate, and explore.


We had teachers figure out ways to host virtual choir performances with 150+ voices, virtual art galleries, plays on a virtual stage, and complete yearbooks and student publications from a distance. Or start completely new ones - like the students in Mountain View High School art teacher Lori Nock's class did.


Students in spring became really interested in a retro culture and decided to create a Zine (hipper term for magazine) to celebrate it.


"In art class, we examine art and respond to it. We bring to and learn about history and culture before we begin creating a new work of art," Nock said. This method is a way of learning about art as a form of deep thinking designed to infuse history, culture, and reflection - both written and spoken.


"To deepen our understanding of Zine culture, the class learned about the history of zines and their purpose as underground works of art in the 1980's and their prevalence today," she added.


We can't wait to see what the students create this semester! View the Spring Zine here, and follow the digital art, commercial art, and photo classes for MVHS on Instagram here.

MVLA HIGH SCHOOL FOUNDATION UPDATE

With the support of high school families and community members, the MVLA High School Foundation surpassed its $1.898 million goal and funded essential and innovative academic programs for over 4,300 students in 2019-20.


Please read the 2019-20 Annual Report to see our programs and view the list of participating volunteers and donors to whom we are extremely grateful.


The MVLA High School Foundation is renewing its commitment, and we have promised to raise $2.091 million for the 2020-21 school year. This is an increase of over $200,000 to support needs stemming from the pandemic, including the new learning management platform, additional professional development, and other technology-related requirements. To learn more about our funded programs and make a donation, please visit mvlafoundation.org.

FACILITIES UPDATE

Construction continues on the new classroom buildings for both Los Altos and Mountain View high schools. Neighbors at Mountain View may be noticing roofing activities; neighbors at Los Altos will be seeing the continuation of steel framing.


As part of a Measure E-funded HVAC and roof replacement project, pictured here, we've recently installed a new air conditioning unit with new roof metal wall panels on Building 100 at Mountain View. Testing of the mechanical and electrical systems is next to ensure proper operation.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District is always looking for great, skilled people to join our team, especially now as we prepare for the remote start for the 2020-2021 school year.


We are currently recruiting for positions as an English Teacher, Music Teacher, and School Psychologist. We are always looking for great substitute teachers, and for our Adult School program.


Ready for a career change or supplemental income opportunity? See what we have to offer at our Current Openings page or on EdJoin.

GALLERY

DATEBOOK

August 24, 2020

Regular Meeting - Board of Education

(Via Teleconference)


September 7, 2020

Labor Day Holiday - No School


September 14, 2020

Regular Meeting - Board of Education

(Via Teleconference)


October 5, 2020

Regular Meeting - Board of Education

(Via Teleconference)


October 26, 2020

Regular Meeting - Board of Education

(Via Teleconference)


Please also check our 2020-2021 School Year calendar!